In the Zulu language Kwa means “the place of” the Zulu people or the Zulu Kingdom, although it is often simply known by the locals as KZN.
KZN is one of South Africa’s nine provinces. Although there are 11 municipal districts in KZN, for travel purposes it is more comfortably divided into eight regions, namely Durban, the South Coast, the North Coast, Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands, the Drakensberg, the Battlefields, the, Zululand and the Maputaland or Elephant Coast. Each of these areas has its own unique characteristics and attractions and you will find you are spoilt for choice.
KwaZulu-Natal is an incredible safari destination and with a seemingly perpetual summer, the perfect place for a host of adventure activities. The Indian Ocean is warm and with relatively stable sea temperatures it provides opportunities to swim, surf, fish, sail, snorkel and scuba dive or just hang out on our numerous beautiful beaches throughout the year. In addition to all the water related activities, in KZN adrenaline junkies can abseil the world’s highest gorge, bungee jump, go mountain biking, white-water rafting, dive with sharks or even do some ice-climbing in the snowy mountains in the winter.
Side by side with adventure excursions is KwaZulu-Natal’s rich in history and enviable diversity of cultures. This gives travelers endless authentic and fascinating opportunities to learn about, meet and interact with South Africans from all walks of life. KNZ’s cultural diversity shines through everywhere; in the traditional and contemporary music, dance, architecture, theatre and art, and even the agriculture of the local people.
The variety of spiritual beliefs found existing side by side in KwaZulu-Natal is perhaps the most interesting, and the many beautiful churches, temples and mosques to be seen and traditional ceremonies to be experienced make it an unforgettable experience.
Situated in the center of Durban, KZN’s largest city is one of the largest African traditional healer’s markets in the southern hemisphere, with traditional Indian Ayurvedic health treatments, spices and remedies that date back as far as the culture.
Historically, the battles fought in the beautiful hills and valleys of northern KZN at the turn of the 19th century, changed the course of South African history and the sites of famous skirmishes that rocked the British Empire, weakened the Boers and broke the mighty Zulu nation are found here. Some of the more famous battlefields are at Rorke’s Drift and Isandlwana in Zululand, but there are many other interesting historical sites, museums and monuments throughout the province.
Not many people know that it was in KwaZulu-Natal that Nelson Mandela was finally captured after having been in on the run from the apartheid government. He was later sentenced and spent 27 years in prison. Commemorating this event, is a magnificent memorial, “The Mandela Capture Site”, outside the town of Howick in the Midlands area of the province. It was also in KwaZulu-Natal that Mandela chose to cast his vote in South Africa’s first ever democratic elections. This he did at the Ohlanga Institute on the outskirts of Durban.
Some of South Africa’s premier game and marine reserves are situated in KwaZulu-Natal as well as two of the country’s eight magnificent World Heritage sites. Namely iSimangaliso Wetland Park on the Elephant coast, and the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park in the mountains to the west of the province are here. Another important game reserve is Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, world famous for the role it has played in preserving Africa’s white rhino populations.
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